The Best Over-the-Range Microwaves Under 15 Inches for Your Kitchen

Finding an over-the-range microwave that actually fits in a small kitchen can be a real challenge. Most standard models tower over 16 inches tall, leaving little clearance underneath low-hanging cabinets. But for those with compact cooking spaces, the good news is that there are some great microwaves out there measuring 15 inches or less in height. These low-profile units provide full microwave functionality while maximizing every inch of your limited vertical room. Here, we’ll explore the benefits of choosing a 15-inch over-the-range microwave and recommend some ideal picks for your petite kitchen.

Why Go Low? The Benefits of a 15-Inch Microwave

At just 15 inches tall, these diminutive microwave ovens slide effortlessly into tight spaces. A 15-inch height leaves ample margin under most standard cabinets, so you don’t have to sacrifice performance just because your kitchen is vertically challenged. Here are some of the best things about choosing an over-the-range microwave with a 15-inch max height:

over the range microwave 15 inch height
  • Fits below low-hanging cabinets and shelving.
  • Allows installation closer to the range cooktop.
  • Leaves countertops and cabinets open for other uses.
  • Ideal for small kitchens, galley kitchens, apartments.
  • Convenient for users of shorter stature.

The shallow height doesn’t mean you have to compromise on cooking power or capacity either. Most 15-inch models have at least 1,000 watts of power and 1.5 to 1.6 cubic feet of interior capacity – plenty for everything from reheating leftovers to defrosting meals to popping popcorn. For small kitchens, going compact doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice performance.

Factors to Consider in a 15-Inch Microwave

While a 15-inch height microwave saves vertical space, there are a few other specifications to keep in mind while shopping:

Interior Capacity

Due to their compact footprint, most 15-inch microwaves have an interior capacity between 1.5 and 1.6 cubic feet. This is ample room for plates, bowls, and smaller baking dishes. Larger casserole dishes may not fit as readily. But for general household use, their storage is perfectly respectable.

Cooking Power

Aim for at least 1,000 watts of cooking power. This level of microwave energy allows 15-inch models to heat, defrost, pop, melt, and reheat effectively. While larger microwaves may have up to 1,200 watts, 1,000 is sufficient for a compact unit.

Ventilation and Noise

An over-the-range microwave needs a strong ventilation system to handle cooking odors and smoke. Look for at least 400 CFM of airflow in a 15-inch model’s venting. Also be aware that high ventilation speeds can generate noise, which is more noticeable in open kitchens.

Installation and Fit

One possible drawback of compact microwaves is that standard mounting brackets may not work in the smaller space. Adjustable, custom, or improvised brackets are often needed. Carefully follow manufacturer instructions for limited space installations.

Our Top Picks: The Best 15-Inch Over-the-Range Microwaves

Whirlpool WMH1164XWS

This Whirlpool model measures just 15-7/16 inches tall yet still packs 1,000 watts of power and 1.6 cubic feet of capacity. The fingerprint-resistant stainless steel exterior blends into modern kitchen designs. Budget-friendly but high performing.


LG’s 15-5/8 inch microwave is available in white, black and stainless steel to match any decor. It operates at 1,000 watts with 1.6 cubic feet of space inside. Tall vents and a durable three-speed fan provide ample ventilation.

Sharp R-1874

Known for quality and technology, Sharp’s 15-9/32 inch R-1874 model has a sleek stainless exterior and 850 watts of convection power. The interactive LCD display provides a user-friendly cooking experience in a compact form.

Tips for Successfully Installing Your 15-Inch Microwave

Here are a few pointers to make sure your new low-profile microwave fits and functions at its best in your small kitchen:

  • Carefully measure the height of your space beforehand.
  • Have an outlet installed near the microwave location.
  • Read instructions thoroughly and get proper mounting hardware.
  • Adjust, improvise or customize brackets as needed.
  • Seal edges to prevent grease buildup behind unit.

While it may take some extra planning, a 15-inch over-the-range microwave can free up room and streamline function in even the most vertically challenged kitchens. Just be sure to compare specifications carefully and measure twice for a smooth installation. Once in place, even the smallest microwave can make a big difference in your cooking experience and kitchen layout success.

Advantages of Choosing a 15-inch Height Microwave:

For individuals with limited ceiling height, a 15-inch height microwave can provide ample clearance for the back of the unit, making it easier to install and use. A lower microwave height can make it more convenient for shorter individuals or those with mobility issues to reach and access the controls and features. In situations where the microwave is installed close to the floor, a 15-inch height can prevent the need for excessive bending or stooping, reducing the risk of injury or discomfort.

Disadvantages of Choosing a 15-inch Height Microwave:

Due to its smaller size, a 15-inch height microwave may have a more limited capacity and cooking power, which could impact its overall performance and functionality. Some individuals may prefer a higher microwave height for aesthetic or functional reasons, as it can provide better visibility of the cooking process or create a more cohesive look when paired with other kitchen appliances.

Recommended Brands for a 15-inch Height Microwave:

Sharp: As previously mentioned, the Sharp R-1405 and R-1874 both have a height of 15 inches and are known for their small size and efficient performance. LG: The LG LMV1680ST is another option with a 15-inch height, offering a sleek design and powerful 1,000-watt cooking capacity.

Consider a built-in microwave: If you have limited ceiling height but still want the benefits of a higher-capacity microwave, a built-in model might be a better fit. These units are designed to be integrated into the cabinetry above the range, providing a more streamlined and space-efficient option. Look for a stackable microwave: Some brands offer stackable microwaves, which can be mounted on top of the range or other kitchen appliances, freeing up valuable counter space. Explore alternative mounting options: If you’re particularly attached to your current microwave model but it doesn’t fit the space, there may be ways to creatively mount it using brackets or specially designed installations.

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